Writer Leslie Foster and her husband took a short trip to reconnect for a few delightful, child-free days, and they had a wonderful time exploring this picturesque island community. If you’re looking for an ideal weekend getaway, here are a few ideas for what to see and do in the County this fall.
A short three-hour drive from Ottawa, Prince Edward County is an accessible escape from the city. Though there are an abundance of activities for families, the County is a great place to enjoy as a couple, featuring fine dining, winery tours, watersports, classes and more.
There are a variety of inns and bed and breakfasts to choose from, each with their own character and charm.
At AWAY in the County, Susan and Glen Wallis set the bar high for all B&Bs in the County. The house itself is stunning, representing upscale rustic charm. The walls are adorned with many pieces of Susan’s encaustic paintings.
Breakfasts, prepared by Glen, fill your belly with goodness and start your day off right.
The sunset over East Lake is among the prettiest we’ve seen. A perfect place to unwind. www.awayinthecounty.com
Sandbanks Provincial Park features the world’s largest baymouth barrier dune formation. If you are interested in staying at this popular campground, be sure to book well in advance. The beaches along Lake Ontario are spectacular and Dunes Beach is a playground for the kid in all of us. Powdery-soft sand dunes are perfect for tumbling down. www.ontarioparks.com/park/sandbanks
The Waring House was built around a 19th-century stone farmhouse that houses two restaurants and four guest rooms. Newer buildings offer additional rooms, ideal for larger groups. They also have a culinary school on-site.
This centrally located inn offers easy access to the Millennium Trail – perfect for a countryside bicycle ride. Be sure to pop in for a visit with their resident artist Robert Danielis. His artwork is guaranteed to make you smile. www.waringhouse.com
Prince Edward County is recognized as a culinary hub and has many restaurants to choose from.
Blumen Garden Bistro offers friendly, upscale service with beautifully plated, delicious food. Chef and owner Andreas Feller incorporates local ingredients to create succulent meals. www.blumengardenbistro.com
The Hubb at Angéline’s Inn, Pomodoro, and East & Main Bistro all came highly recommended by pretty much everyone we spoke with. We’ll be sure to try them on our next visit.
Slickers Ice Cream was our favourite treat spot, featuring delicious ice cream, handmade in small batches. We sampled several yummy flavours. Campfire, their top seller, tasted like campfire roasted marshmallows.
There are nearly 40 wineries to choose from in Prince Edward County. Selecting only two to visit was quite a challenge.
Huff Estates is one of the area’s larger operations. Our guided tour taught us a lot about wine production. The tasting area is upscale, with friendly, knowledgeable staff. Lunch is served on the patio overlooking the vineyard, prepared using fresh, localingredients.
On property, you will also find an inn and visually stunning Oeno Gallery and Sculpture Garden, with a meticulously maintained art garden. www.huffestates.com
Karlo Estates, owned and operated by husband and wife team Richard Karlo and Sherry Martin, is housed in an 1845 post and beam barn and exudes rustic charm. Wines are paired with food and knowledgeable staff explain each of the selections.
We walked through the vineyard to the stone bridge, asking a million questions along the way. The port-like wines were the biggest surprise, particularly the uncommon white variety. Be sure to add this one to your list if you are visiting the area.
Schedule enough time to enjoy a glass of wine in their screened-in porch, complete with cosy blankets for chillier weather. www.karloestates.com
Learning something new is a fabulous opportunity to reconnect as a couple. There are several opportunities to take classes in the County.
We had a delightful field-to-table culinary experience with Cynthia Peters, owner of From the Farm Cooking School. Guided by Cynthia, we visited the area’s two cheese factories: The Black River Cheese Company Ltd. and Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co.
We popped into The County Cider Company for a tasting.
And we stopped at Vicki’s Veggies: family-farmed, organically grown, specializing in heirloom tomatoes and artisanal hot sauces.
Back at Cynthia’s farmhouse, we had a cooking lesson and learned to make mushroom ravioli while sampling some local wine. www.fromthefarm.ca
We also tried our hand at the fine art of glassblowing at The Red Barns, an artisan’s playground. The Red Barns are home to several resident artists and classes are offered in glass-blowing, pottery, woodworking and more. If you ever wanted to indulge your artistic side, this is an idyllic place to do it.
Our instructors E.J. Davy and Janet McLachlan welcomed us into their studio and skillfully assisted us in crafting beautiful paperweights, flowers, and drinking glasses.
From the intense heat of the “Glory Hole” to the cracking of glass on the ends of the moils in the discard buckets, this was an intensely sensory experience. The on-site gallery showcases artwork from some of the resident artists. There are B&B rooms on-site as well. www.theredbarns.com
Sandbanks Vacations & Tours outfitted us with kayaks and a stand-up paddleboard. There are many places to explore, but we settled on Dunes Beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
We followed the shoreline and appreciated the spectacular dunes, flora, and fauna. It was also the perfect place to attempt stand-up paddle boarding for the first time because of the calmer waters. www.sandbanksvacations.com
The beaches at Sandbanks are beautiful. If you aren’t camping, you can get a day pass and visit the park. Saylor House in Bloomfield packed us a picnic, which included chicken mango wraps made with the freshest of ingredients; a low-stress way to enjoy a scrumptious lunch on the beach. www.thesaylorhouse.com
There are an abundance of boutiques, antiques stores, and art galleries in Prince Edward County: pottery, glass, paintings, woodwork, souvenirs, and more. Many are located in the villages of Picton and Bloomfield, while others are scattered throughout the countryside. Getting there is half the fun.
Stop at the Chamber of Commerce building in Picton to pick up a map for the Arts Trail and a list of wineries and other attractions. www.pecchamber.com